RV tailgating is the best. You’ve got everything you need to make great food, great drinks, and to entertain guests. If the weather is uncooperative, you have shelter. And if you need a little rest or relief, you have that covered, too! So, get your apron ready, and warm up the grill for the best tailgating recipes and tips from the Outdoorsy community.
For those of you new to tailgating, here are the very basics.
- Tailgating is basically hosting a party out of the back of your truck or RV.
- Providing food and drink (usually including beer) is expected. You can of course ask guests to contribute.
- Most tailgate parties are invitation only, but they don’t have to be.
- They are most common at sporting events, music festivals, and RV rallies.
- Bare minimums to bring: a table for food, cooler for drinks, place for trash, paper plates, cups and napkins.
Tip 1: Prep food in advance
Ideally, you want to get all your food prepped well in advance. Cut your veggies, mix your sauces, and bake your goodies before you set up your table. Often, you want to do most of the work the night before. Planning to grill food on the spot is great. But you will still want the food fully prepped so it is ready to go straight on the grill. Getting ready in advance will get your party started on time, keep you from stressing, and give you more time to interact with your guests.
Tip 2: Cut the cutlery
Space is often limited at a tailgate event. Guests will often be standing and aren’t likely to have a table to eat at. Foods you can hold and eat in one hand are the best. Foods you can use one hand to hold in a plate or bowl and the other to eat are also good. Avoid foods that are too hot to hold in your hand or need a knife and fork. Also, avoid food that is going to be super messy.
Tip 3: Mix and match
Foods that let your guests pick and choose what to include are ideal for tailgating. So rather than pre-making deli subs, put out all the fixings and let people put together their own perfect sandwich. With drinks, make sure you have cold water, an alcoholic drink (if allowed by the venue), and a non-alcoholic drink. You want everyone at your tailgate to find something palatable to eat and drink no matter their tastes.
Tip 4: Be weather aware
Check the forecast for the day and time of your tailgate. If it’s going to be hot, plan on having cold drinks and food that won’t melt in the heat. On a cold day, provide hot drinks and hot food. When a strong wind is expected, avoid food on plates and put food in covered containers.
Recently, the Outdoorsy team asked our awesome Outdoorsy owners what some of their favorite recipes are and their suggestions did not disappoint. These are sure to please a crowd!
It’s hard to go wrong with sweet and savory for a tailgate. BBQ pulled pork gives you both and can feed a hungry mob at a fairly low cost. Outdoorsy owner, April Kieffer, suggests serving it in a slow-cooker to create sliders and/or sandwiches. Just don’t forget some tasty garnishes!
- 4lbs of pork roast (shoulder or butt is best)
- 2 large onions
- 1 cup of ginger ale
- 1 18oz bottle of BBQ sauce
- Garnish Items: buns, rolls, pickles, arugula, crispy onion straws
Directions – day before:
- Slice onions into thin rings.
- Place one onion’s worth of rings flat in a slow-cooker or crock pot.
- Place pork roast on onion bed, then the second sliced onion over the roast.
- Pour ginger ale into the cooker, covering roast.
- Cover and cook until pork is tender and cooked through. (8-12 hours in crock pot).
- Remove cooked pork and onions, draining away liquid.
- Dice onions finely. Remove any excess fat and all bones from the pork.
- Shred the pork with a pair of forks.
- Mix the pork and onions.
- Refrigerate meat mixture in a plastic container.
Directions – day of:
Place shredded pork in slow-cooker. Add BBQ Sauce. Mix sauce into pork and heat to the desired temperature. Prepare garnish items for serving. Supply tongs for serving pork. Toast buns for extra awesomeness!
Mojo Chili Madness
The spice must flow! Chili makes for a great mix and match base that you can add to a number of otherwise plain items to create wonderful comfort foods. Serve the chili in a crockpot to keep it warm. You can make your own Chili from scratch, or buy it in a can if you are pressed for time. Once you have the chili, guests can make chili dogs, chili nachos, chili burgers, or Frito pie. Whatever their taste buds desire.
- 2lb of ground beef (ground chuck is even better!)
- 3 small cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 small onion – diced
- 15oz tomato sauce – plain or salted
- 6oz tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of powdered cumin
- 2 pinches of table salt (to taste)
- 3/4 cup of beef broth (or water)
- In a pan – on medium heat – brown the garlic, onion, and ground meat. Meat should be cooked through.
- Stir in tomato paste, tomato puree, chili powder, cumin, and broth/water until well mixed.
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes to meld flavors.
- Serve in heated dish or crockpot alongside garnishes
- Diced sweet onions
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Diced jalapeno peppers
- Sour cream
How to use it:
- Hot dogs and buns
- Hamburgers and buns with lettuce and pickles on the side
- Or try Outdoorsy owner Sigrid Anderson’s favorite: Frito Pie. Get individual bags of Frito corn chips and just pour the chili right into the bag and eat with a spoon.
Pilaf is a great rice dish to serve at a tailgate, as noted by Outdoorsy owner Sherrie Perry Miller. This vegan version is just as flavorful as the classic version giving you a hearty side dish that anyone can enjoy.
- 1/2 cup of orzo pasta
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 small sweet onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stock of celery
- 1 portabella mushroom
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt
- Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, and mushroom – a food processor makes this much faster and they can be chopped together.
- Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan over medium heat.
- Toast the orzo pasta until light golden in color.
- Add vegetables and salt and cook until vegetables soften in oil.
- Stir in rice and stock until mixed.
- Add bay leaf and bring to a boil on medium high.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes (until rice is soft and fluffy).
- Remove from heat and uncover to cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, then toss lightly before serving.
Want more tailgate recipes? Check out these great One-Pot Meals. They are perfect for colder weather Tailgating.
And don’t forget a great drink to go along with all of the yummy food options! Here is a favorite recipe:
This is a great cocktail drink for a hot day and a plastic cup. This recipe is designed to make one gallon of punch with a suggested serving of 1 cup which will be about 1.6 oz of alcohol by volume per serving. The rough equivalent of a bottle of beer.
- 60oz of pineapple juice
- 40oz of orange juice
- 10oz vodka
- 10oz rum
- 5oz amaretto
Mix well, serve one cup of punch with ice.
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